oil change

Summer can kill your car's battery

It’s safe to say that all of us have been there. In a rush to get to an important meeting at work, running out the door and jumping in the car. You sit down, stick the keys into the ignition, and turn to get it started… Instead of hearing the engine start up, all you hear are some soft clicking noises. Your car is refusing to start.Traditional wisdom suggests that dead batteries are the product of frigid winters, but did you know that the heat of summer months can be equally, if not more, damaging to your car’s battery?

A little known fact is that studies indicate that car batteries in colder areas have a life expectancy of around 60 months. On the other hand, those in hot regions, average only around 30 months. This is mostly due to chemistry inside the car batteries. In hot climates, the battery starts to discharge spontaneously within 24 hours. This same process takes place in colder climates, but it takes considerably longer – few days. A dead battery in hot weather is thus, a distinct possibility. Here are five ways to improve your changes and keep your battery alive in even the hottest climate.

Park in Shade

Because the high heat is so damaging to you car’s battery, always try to park in a cool, shaded parking spot. Of course, this one’s common sense. It’s a no brainer that parking in the shade will keep the interior of the car significantly cooler!

sunflower-sun-summer-yellow.jpg

Do Not Drive Short Distances

Always plan your trips accordingly. Taking longer trips will increase your driving time. You should opt for bicycle or walking for the shorter trips because short distance driving will destroy your car battery much quicker. The science behind this is that while driving, the alternator charges the battery. This process is takes a relatively long time which means that increasing your driving time will give the alternator more time. Short trips with many stops and starts don’t allow sufficient time to charge the battery.

Decrease the Demand on Car Battery

Our cars have become our second homes or offices. It seems like there’s always five things going on at once. Almost everything in our cars demand electricity, which of course, comes from the battery. Between satellite navigation systems, DVD screens, phone chargers, car’s own computer and electrical systems, we ask a lot of our car’s battery. Keep this in mind when you’re adding new devices or plugging new things into car’s charging sockets. Only use what you really need and this will lower the demand on your car battery, and in result, greatly prolong its life.

Keep Battery Clean

The battery is typically located within the engine compartment and this typically isn’t too pretty… It’s common to find this compartment covered in dirt, oil, and grease. These substances can build up on your battery’s terminals and act like insulators. This will potentially even lower the charging capacity of your battery even more which ends up in shortening its life. The build up of dirt and grease can also act like a heat trap; keeping the battery even hotter. It’s vital to clean this area regularly.

Use a Charger

It might be a good idea to invest in a car battery charger. When the car is parked for a long period of time, an external charger can help keep the battery topped up. Having this will assist in keep the battery from getting completely drained while it is not being used. In result, this will help extend its life and keep you from having to buy a new battery sooner than necessary.

Atlanta on a Tankful

As you may know, Atlanta is the capital city of of Georgia. It is the economic and cultural center of the state and was founded in 1837. What many don't know is that it mostly burned to the ground during the Civil War. However, it rose from the ashes to become a beautiful new metropolitan city and should be on any tourist’s ‘to see’ list. For the budget minded, or for those with less time on their hands, there is now a way to see many amazing things in Atlanta on just a single tank of gas. Here is an itinerary of Atlanta’s fascinating Midtown:

1. Ansley Park and Piedmont Park

Ansley Park is a very affluent area of Atlanta, filled with luxurious and expensive houses. This will be a fun and interesting drive for the start of the tour. Stop by the urban and grassy Piedmont Park for a quick and leisurely stroll before the next stop.

2. Atlanta Botanical Garden

Located next to Piedmont Park, the Atlanta Botanical Garden opened in 1976. It serves as a sanctuary and education center for many different species of plants. Make a quick stop at the Fuqua Orchid center to see the largest collection of orchids on permanent display in the U.S.

3. Margaret Mitchell's Home

Next, drive to the nearby home of Margaret Mitchell, where she wrote the famous book ‘Gone with The Wind’. This is a definitely must for both history buffs and movie lovers.

4. Hop across for a quick drive by of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta which is the sixth district of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks of the United States.

5. EAT!

By now it will be time for a quick lunch so check out the nearby restaurant district for some delicious local cuisine and a refreshing beverage. There is a restaurant on every corner and this area is home to some of the best eateries in the city. So enjoy!

6. Fabulous Fox Theater

This is our next drop on the drive tour of Midtown Atlanta. This theatre is a former movie palace and is currently a performing arts center. It is a part of a larger Fox Theatre Historic District.

7. Centennial Olympic Park

Finally, to complete our tour of Atlanta on a single tank of gas, visit the Centennial Olympic Park, which hosted the 1996 Summer Olympics and is still a popular site for large events. Today this 21 acre area is a public park. Currently performance includes several summer pop music concerts serious and an annual Independence Day concert and fireworks display.

Check out our blog for the latest in car care and Atlanta.

Ways to Break in a New Car

man-people-hand-driving-6097.jpg

So you finally decided to buy that brand new, shiny car but have big concerns about
how to properly break it in? There are certain tips and tricks that are easy to follow
and will go a long way to properly braking in your new car.
Breaking a new car in is a long standing practice, recommended by all auto
manufacturers. It involves different processes such as: correct driving techniques,
precautionary measures, maintenance tasks and general care. What this will do is
prolong the life of your new car. It sets the foundation for how the car will perform for the
rest of its useful, working life. The basic idea behind the new car break in period is to
allow all moving parts to settle in properly and begin to work together as a team in the
right way.


1. Low Revolutions
Initial driving style should be gentle, avoiding extremely high engine revs (the so
called red lining). This will prevent your car’s moving parts from overstressing
during this initial, crucial period. The revolutions of the engine should be kept
below 3000 revolutions per minute (RPM). This can be monitored via the
dashboard tachometer.


2. Low Speeds
On a related topic, car’s speed should initially be kept reasonably low. There
should be no harsh accelerations, racing from the red lights (should never be
done!) or any other activity involving extreme speeds. Recommended speeds
during the break in period are between 30 and 50 miles per hour.


3. Proper and Regular Oil Changes
First oil change should take place very early in the car’s break in period, much
sooner than even the manufacturer’s manual instructs you to do. To be extra
cautious, the first oil change should happen somewhere between 50 and 100
miles, but somewhere within the first 500 miles should be very acceptable. The
reason behind such a quick first oil change is that there is a strong possibility of
excess particles and wear on the engine’s moving parts. These potentially loose
debris could pose danger to the engine, causing irreparable damage.

light-car-inside-black.jpg


4. Regular and Correct Maintenance
To further extend the life of the car, proper and early maintenance is
recommended. This includes regular inspections and simply tasks. Examples
include: changing the air filter, oil filter, checking of all fluids (level of transmission
fluid, antifreeze, oil, brake fluid, and power steering fluid). Fluids should be
topped up as needed.

For more of the latest car news and tips, check out the rest of Hero's blogs

Top Signs of Engine Oil Leak

Oil leaks are not fun. Those gross, greasy stains on the garage floor or that nasty burning smell and smoke coming from the tail pipe – these are not things any car owner looks forward to. And on top of that, the annoying oil light flickering on the dashboard which signals the beginning of a possible long, time consuming battle. Although there are other causes of these symptoms, there is a good chance they are caused by an engine leaking oil. This may sound simple, but it should never be ignored since it can be a sign of something much more serious. Repairing an engine oil leak should never be put off as it can definitely lead to bigger headaches down the road and serious engine damage can happen. It can even lead to engine overheating and you getting stranded on the side of the road. Review the following signs of an oil leak so you can recognize it early and deal with it efficiently. This will also help you realize how big of a role oil plays in the engine’s life.

black-and-white-car-classic-474.jpg


1. Dark puddles under your car
When you drive out of your garage in the morning, check to see if there are any dark
brown/yellow spots or puddles where the car was. If the oil is leak straight out of the
oil pan, it will drain onto your garage floor (or wherever the car happens to have been
parked for a period of time).


2. Smoke from the engine
If the oil leak happens to be around the exhaust manifold, it will cause smoke to come from the engine compartment. This could easily damage the oxygen sensor or make the gaskets break down and disintegrate, if left unrepaired for too long.


3. Oil light on the dashboard
If the oil light flashes on the dashboard, do not ignore it. This is an alert that oil level or pressure has dropped to below what is considered normal. It may not indicate a leak necessarily, but it's very likely. This should be looked at immediately by a car mechanic.


4. Smell of oil burning
If oil is leaking anywhere on the hot parts of the engine, it will burn and you will likely smell it or even hear it sizzle. If you notice this smell (which is bitter) have the car inspected as an oil leak is very likely.


5. Engine overhearing
Oil plays a very important part in ensuring engine does not overheat. It lubricates all moving parts, including the pistons which ensure proper and smooth movement and gliding. Without lubrication, friction would very quickly increase the temperature of the
engine, causing it to overheat.

Stay updated with the latest car tips by checking out our other blogs here. 

Top 8 things to check when getting a used car

Many people consider buying a used car as a way to save some money. Used cars are usually much cheaper than a brand new car. Buying a used car is also more economically conscious because over time, the car will lose less of it’s value. However, buying a new car is not always easy. There are numerous things that you have to look out for. Here are a list of the top 8 things to check when getting a used car.

 

1. Take a test drive

Test driving a car is important regardless of whether you are buying a new or a used car. A test drive allows you to get a feel for the car and see how it handles in the real world. With a used car, a test drive allows you to quickly spot any main issues with the car. These could be things like problems with the brakes or problems with the engine.

2. Look at the exterior and interior

Take a walk around the car and look for any noticeable dents or scratches. If there are any then they could significantly reduce the cost of the car. Dents and scratches are also an indicator that the previous owner didn’t take good care of the car. Take a look at the interior of the car as well. A dirty or messy interior is another place where you could get the owner to reduce the price of the car.

3. Check for a recall

Go online and check the make and model of the car you are considering buying and make sure that it hasn’t been recalled. Some owners may try to sell a car that has been recalled which is a safety issue and is very dangerous. If the make and model has been recalled, get proof from the owner that the car as been repaired and that the issue has been fixed. If the owner cannot provide proof, do not purchase the car.

4. Ask for service records

Service records are important because they tell you how the previous owner has taken care of the car. If the service records show regular maintenance then it is a good sign that the car has been well taken care of. If the records show no or very little maintenance then it is likely that you will have issues with the car in the future.

5. Have a mechanic perform an inspection

Take the car to a mechanic for an inspection. The mechanic will be able to find any issues with the car that are not obvious from the outside. If there are issues try to get the owner to cover the repair costs. If the owner is not willing to pay for the entire repair costs see if they will split the costs with you or of they will consider lowering the price of the car.

6. Check for a warranty

Check if the car has any warranty on it that could be transferred over to you. The warranty could come in handy if there are issues with the car in the future. If the owner bought the car when it was new then it is likely that there is some warranty on the car. As the owner if it is possible for them to transfer it over to you.

7. Check for any leaks

Park the car in a dry place and let it sit there for around 30 minutes. After that time move the car and check if there were any fluid leaks in the spot where it was parked. Leaks indicate that there is something wrong with the car and that it needs maintenance. If a leak is found, ask the owner if they are aware of it and if they know what is causing it.

8. Read reviews online

Buying a car is no different than buying any other item. Do your research online and read reviews about the car. See what other owners of the car have to say about it. If they think it’s a good car or if they regret purchasing it. Reviews can also tell you about possible issues with the car that you may face in the future.

or more of the latest car hacks and tips, check out our other blogs.

Top Reasons for Squeaky Brakes

Brakes are such a crucial part of the car, having them squeak can be both annoying and worrying. This is especially true if the squeaking continues for a long time or gets worse and worse. With that being said, noisy brakes are common and can often easily be dealt with by any auto mechanics shop.

 

Most automobile brakes today are disc brakes. This is where a pad presses against a disc (also known as the rotor) in order to stop the car. Some cars utilize an older type of brakes known as drum brakes. Sometimes, even on modern cars, the rear wheels will use drum brakes due to cost consideration. This type of brake uses a curved part called a “shoe” to press against a hollow drum, which then stops the car.

Morning squeaks

Often brakes will squeak after sitting all night. This is typically because of moisture from rain, dew or condensation that accumulated on the surface of the rotors. A thin layer of rust builds up on the surface of rotors. As the rotors turn the pads scrape off this rust. These fine particles can get trapped in the leading edge of the pad and can cause a squeaks.

Thinning Brake Pads

All pads have a built in wear indication. As the pads are used, they become worn, eventually thinning to the point of where the wear indicator becomes audible. This is a very common source of squeaks but it is not a failure, it is simply an indication that it is time to have the brakes serviced and pads replaced. These wear indicators are just small metal tabs made of steel which hit the rotor when pads are too thin, generating the noise.

 

pexels-photo-337909.jpg

High Metal Content

Certain low end pads can be manufactured with a high metal content. There may be large chunks of metal embedded into the pads. These pieces will drag on the rotor and cause a high pitched brake squeak. Ideally brake pads with a higher content of non metal materials should be used. This will minimize the squeaks.

Drum Brakes Need Lubrication

If squeaking is heard from the drum brakes, it is an indication that they need to be lubricated. Shoe to backing plate contact points have lost most of their lubrication and thus need to be serviced.

Scraping From Plate

If squeaking is heard during regular driving, it may be an indication of scrapping from a plate due to damage. The typical cause of this is due to a rock hitting the underside of the car.

Brakes are one of the most important functionality of a car. It's important to know when they need to be serviced, replaced, or repaired. Have your trusted car care professional check them out if you ever have any doubt.

Check out our other blogs for the latest car care tips and tricks. 

Oil Changing Essentials

Changing your car’s oil is one of the most basic and critically important car maintenance activities. At its core, changing oil in a car consists of removing the old, spent oil from the car’s engine and replacing it with a new oil. It is typical to replace the car’s oil filter at the same time.

 

When?

With time and as the car’s engine operates, oil breaks down and wears out. It loses its viscosity and becomes much less capable of lubricating all of the engine’s moving parts. Furthermore, oil loses its ability to absorb and dissipate heat as it ages. This can all lead to engine parts being less protected and eventually to a break down. The goal of very vehicle owner is to replace the engine oil, before this costly break down occurs.

How?

How often should oil be changed? This depends on numerous factors: make of the car, the way the car is driven, the age of the car and even your geographical location. A typical rule of thumb, recommended by most mechanics, is to replace your oil every 3000 miles. This may be slightly too aggressive. Most newer automobile manufacturers recommend longer intervals, for example, 5000 miles. Using special synthetic oil will allow you to extend this interval up to 10000 miles.

 

Where?

Engine oil can be replaced at almost any auto mechanic garage, anything from a large car manufacturer’s dealership to a small family run shop. It depends on a person preference convenience and budget. One recommendation that should be made is that oil change be done a reputable location, especially if the vehicle is still covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Always have your oil changed by a trusted professional. And yes, changing oil at a registered car mechanics business will not void the warranty, despite a common myth it is not necessary to take the car back to the original dealer who sold it. There is always an option to do it yourself. Changing oil is not a complicated maintenance process and it is an easy project for anyone to do at home.

How?

Replacing the engine oil includes the following steps:

  • Buy new oil filter and sufficient quantity of new oil

  • Warm up your car

  • Park the care on a flat surface

  • Open hood, removed oil filler cap

  • Remove oil plug (under the car, see owner’s manual for details)

  • Drain the old oil into a collection pen

  • Remove old oil filter (see owner’s manual for location)

  • Install new oil filter

  • Reinstall the oil plug

  • Refill the engine with new oil

8 Ways to Protect Your Car's Exterior in the Summer

We often think that winter would be the hardest time for our cars and take extra precautions to protects our beloved cars. However, we forget that summer takes its toll as well.  Since it's right around the corner, here are 8 steps to protects your car's exterior in the summer:

 

1.  Tint your windows

If you tend to leave your car parked outside during the summer under direct sunlight, try investing in getting your windows and windscreen tinted. This helps protect the inside of your car from the sun's ray. It also helps protects yourself when you are driving under the sunlight.

 

road-sky-clouds-cloudy.jpg

2. Find shade

There's only one real way to protect your car from any sun ray damage which is by parking it under a physical barrier because this blocks 100% of UV rays from damaging your car. Sun protectors are useful and affordable, so it might be best to invest in some as they can be easily folded up and put neatly in the trunk when not in use.

3. Wax

The Sunscreen For Cars Wax is the ultimate protection when it comes to cars. Choose a brand that you feel is suitable according to your time and cast investment. Although most wax usually last for only up to 2 months, the good news is that it's really easy to reapply another new coating of wax to the take on the brunt of the sunlight. One thing to take note is that price does not equal protection. Just because you spend more on a coating that claims to last for years doesn't mean that it gives you more protection from the sun compared to other products on the market.

4. Keep it clean!

Always wash your vehicle regularly! I usually wash my car at least once every week to ensure that all the stuck-on road grime is removed. For examples, bird droppings can permanently damage not only the paint but also the clear coat that you've applied.

5. Don't forget the small things

Use plastic polish to prevent hazing or cracked plastics keeping those parts fresh like you just bought it. Rubber protectants help prevent important rubber parts from going brittle. There are also sunlight shielding films which can be used to protect your headlights as they even come with spray-on versions making is easier to apply.

6. Test & clean battery frequently

The heat has been known to drain your car's batteries quite quickly and shortens the lifespans of them. Frequent testing and cleaning will help prevent yourself from getting stranded somewhere in the middle of the highway.

7. Check tire pressure

Hot pavements and under-inflated tires make a deadly combination during the summer which may lead to a burst tire while driving. Always remember to check it frequently to ensure that the pressure is optimum.

 

8. Wipe dashboard with microfiber cloth

Dust and dirt are usually the main cause of tiny scratches that become worse over time. Wipe the dashboard frequently to clean all particles. A low-gloss detailing product is more than enough to protect and reduce glare.

For more car tips and hacks, be sure to check out our other blogs here